10 Sales Presentation Techniques that will Help You Succeed

Creating an effective sales presentation can be quite tough. However, for some, that isn’t the difficult part–giving the sales presentation is, especially if you’re not naturally charismatic or a gifted public speaker.

Even people with these innate talents struggle to close deals because they haven’t fully prepared for their sales presentations. As most motivational speakers will tell you: “Preparation is the first step to success.”

But how do you prepare a stellar presentation? The following guide will explore the best sales presentation tips to help you close more deals. Hopefully, it will also help you enjoy giving sales presentations more.

1. Construct your presentation like a story

Mastering your sales pitch requires extensive planning. Often, the best way to do this is by structuring your sales presentation like a story. 

Every story has a beginning, middle, and end–at least in a three-point structure. You can add other points such as:

  • Exposition
  • Hooks
  • Inciting incidents
  • Climaxes
  • Resolutions, etc. 

The type of story structure you ultimately choose is irrelevant. What matters most is how you plan to lead your prospective clients through your presentation. It will require you to map out your sales presentation, ensuring that it has a logical structure, so each part transitions smoothly to the next. 

Many salespeople make the mistake of presenting their prospects with a loose collection of facts, hoping that the product will ultimately sell itself. However, that doesn’t usually work, so making your presentation as engaging as possible is important. 

2. Keep it simple

This is a multipoint tip. While you might want to impress your audience with your erudite understanding of the product, you’d do better keeping it simple. It goes for the presentation slides, too–you must ensure they’re not too text-heavy. Slides should be used as a visual complement containing cues for your presentation and working as a tool to help you guide your prospects.

Your slides should not contain more than six bullet points, and each bullet should be confined to six words on a single line. Additionally, your text should be large enough to be read by all audience members. We recommend a font size of 30 and above. 

Another mistake that presenters tend to make is reading from slides. This is a big no-no. You should rely mostly on your speech and improvise where you can so your presentation can feel light, spontaneous and engaging.

Explain how your product can help solve your client’s problems in simple English. Additionally, you should try to expand on complex concepts without sounding too condescending. 

You can include short stories or anecdotes that your audience can relate to (for example, by making them the protagonists or main characters of your story). It will help them visualize how your product will fit into their lives.   

3. More visualization, less text

This tip ties into the last suggestion. Your slides should help visualize your data by including simple charts and graphics. The slides should accompany your words and act as visual cues. After all, it’s been well-established that visuals are more memorable than words. Pairing visuals with your words will make your presentation more unforgettable through verbal and visual word association.  

For instance, you can include graphs that illustrate cash flow projections to show your prospects what they can expect to gain from using your product. Your audience may then associate this positive imagery with your product. However, be careful not to overdo it. You do not want to split your audience’s attention and distract them from your words. 

4. Let your presentation become a dialog

A great way to maintain engagement during a presentation is by encouraging questions. You can ask your audience if they have any questions before moving on to the next slide. Another way to do this is by providing them with just enough information that they’re forced to ask questions. 

Of course, if this is not done with care, it can backfire. It could give prospects the impression that you either don’t know what you’re talking about or your product simply doesn’t have certain features. But first, you need to pay attention to your audience’s verbal and nonverbal cues and adjust your pitch accordingly.  

If done correctly, it will encourage self-discovery from your participants and inspire back and forth communication. It could make you feel more comfortable and your presentation will seem more like a conversation. 

5. Send a summary of your presentation beforehand

There is some contention surrounding this tip. Some experts believe that supplying your audience with copies of your presentation or pitch deck beforehand is a bad idea as it may tempt them to go through the slides and ignore you.

However, others believe it’s a good idea to provide your attendees with a presentation summary. If you do want to send something for your prospects to check out before your conversation, don’t  send  the full presentation deck with all your slides, simply share a plan or a very short summary of some of the points you’ll discuss. That way you’re not spoiling the presentation, but feeding them just enough to create intrigue and encourage questions during the presentation given they’ll have time to think through what you’ll cover. 

6. Use insight as a bridge

Your audience is most likely a group of experts in their field. As a salesperson, you need to remind them that you’re there to solve a particular problem. But you must prove that you understand the problem before you can effectively convince them that you can solve it.

Furthermore, you can gain more respect and engagement from your audience if you show them that you understand them and can teach them something. This part of the presentation can be as jargon-heavy as necessary; however, it is dependent on your product and your presentation’s attendees.

7. Put value first

While your product may seemingly offer features the competition lacks, it may not be a good idea to lead with this. Often, these features may be too abstract for your audience to understand and internalize. Instead, consider discussing what value your product can add by solving their specific problems. You can then expand on other  features and solutions your product offers that can add value or eliminate additional issues your prospects may be facing.

For instance, if you’re marketing sales pipeline planning software, you need to lead with why having a sales pipeline visualization tool is necessary. You can also discuss how it can help optimize salesforce efficiency. Don’t forget to back these points up with real-world data and examples. 

8. Lead into the numbers, do not begin with them

While it may be tempting to show your attendees that you understand the intricacies of their professions by starting with the data, it may not be an effective strategy. You may feel like you’re building urgency by displaying negative differentiators first, but this may throw your audience off. You’re not trying to con them, and the numbers may be too impersonal. 

So, lead into the data and differentials only after you’ve established value by speaking directly to your audience’s pain points. Remember to illustrate your data through visual tools such as graphs and charts.    

9. Time is important

Depending on which source you use, human attention spans are short and getting shorter by the decade. However, data has shown that attention span is individual and task-dependent. The more engaging your presentation is, the less likely your audience is to wander off mentally. Nevertheless, you must keep your presentation as short as possible. 

Expert opinions vary on how much time you should spend on a presentation, but aim for 9-15 minutes. Restrict time spent on one slide to three minutes–it will help you avoid cognitive fatigue.     

10. Do not overemphasize testimonials

You might have a social example proving the effectiveness of your product, but you need to use these testimonials strategically. 

Study your prospects beforehand–social proof or testimonials from big brands may not impress them. If you plan to use testimonials or social proof as a strategy, you need to ensure you pick brands, individuals or companies that your audience can relate to. It’s a similar strategy to politicians using hypothetical or real-life people as political mascots (remember Joe the Plumber) to appeal to certain people.

The success of your deal depends almost entirely on your sales presentation. If done correctly, it will convince your audience that your product is the solution that can solve their problems. 

There’s no such thing as perfect

These 10 tips can help you craft a well-targeted, engaging presentation your buyers will love. But remember, even if things are going well, there’s always room for improvement. Every presentation provides an opportunity to refine your approach. If you can, gather feedback from your prospects, and pay attention to how they react via both verbal and nonverbal signals. These indicators can help you understand if part of your presentation needs adjusting in order to keep people engaged.

And, remember to be kind to yourself. Crafting the perfect presentation takes time, and your sales presentation skills will improve as you practice. You can’t win every deal, but you can use every loss as a learning opportunity. 

  • Originally published August 6, 2022